After examining N26 on a wide variety of metrics and features, we believe there are three N26 alternatives worth looking at.
In this post, we’ll introduce Revolut, TransferWise and SafetyWing as viable alternatives to N26.
What Is N26?
Put simply, N26 is the best online bank for most people.
N26 offers a host of great features, including:
- Free worldwide ATM withdrawals: Wherever you are in the world, N26 Black and N26 Metal members can withdraw from any ATM at the inter-bank exchange rate with zero fees, as if you’re still at home.
- Free international money transfers: Send an unlimited number of money transfers to friends, colleagues, suppliers, customers–all for free.
- An extremely powerful app: Toggle online payments and spending limits, reset your PIN, pay with Apple Pay and Google Pay, receive real-time transaction notifications, and a lot more–all in the N26 app.
- Medical expenses up to an unlimited amount.
- Travel cancellation insurance up to €5,000 per trip.
- Flight and luggage delay insurance up to €400.
- Stolen cash insurance up to €500.
- Stolen mobile phone insurance up to €300.
There’s a lot more to the N26 insurance policy than that–including why we recommend combining N26 with SafetyWing for the ultimate travel & medical insurance combination–but this gives you a good idea of what N26 is all about.
Now we’re going to look at three viable alternatives to N26. As you’ll see below, each of them compares to N26 differently—one online bank, one cross-border currency exchange service, and one travel and medical insurance provider—so we’ll need to look at them one by one.
N26 Alternative #1: Revolut
Compared on: Online banking
In terms of features, N26 and Revolut are very similar, though there are a few differences:
- N26 supports Apple Pay; Revolut does not.
- N26 offers overdraft; Revolut does not.
- N26 offers free bank transfers up to an unlimited amount; Revolut charges 0.5% after the first £5,000/month.
- Revolut supports cryptocurrencies; N26 does not.
One of the major differences between N26 and Revolut is in the way they approach foreign currency transactions and ATM withdrawals:
|Weekday ATM Withdrawal Rate||Inter-bank rate||Inter-bank rate|
|Weekend ATM Withdrawal Rate||Inter-bank rate||Inter-bank rate + 0.5%-1%|
|Weekday foreign currency transactions||Inter-bank rate||Inter-bank rate|
|Weekend foreign currency transactions||Inter-bank rate||Inter-bank rate + 0.5%-1%|
|Foreign exchange in excess of £5,000/month||Inter-bank rate||Inter-bank rate + 0.5%|
|Foreign exchange on less common currencies||Inter-bank rate||Inter-bank rate + 1%-2%|
|Sign up for N26||Sign up for Revolut|
The simple way to read the table islike this: N26 always charges you the inter-bank rate (the best exchange rate) on your transactions and ATM withdrawals, while Revolut often adds fees on top of the inter-bank rate. Which bank would you rather work with?
The differences are just as vast when it comes to the travel and medical insurance policies included with N26 Black and Revolut Premium:
|Pay-per-day travel insurance||Insurance already included||Paid from £1/day|
|Flight/baggage delay insurance (after 4 hours)||Up to €400||Up to £320|
|Reimbursement for stolen cash||Up to €500||NO|
|Reimbursement for stolen mobile phone||Included up to €300||Paid from £1/week|
|Extended warranty on purchases||Up to €500||NO|
|Trip cancellation insurance||Up to €5,000||NO|
|Car rental / public transportation accident insurance||YES||NO|
|Sign up for N26||Sign up for Revolut|
Again, N26’s travel and medical insurance policy is significantly better than that of Revolut. Its limits are higher, it reimburses you for things like a stolen mobile phone or cash that’s stolen after you withdraw it from an ATM, and it has trip cancellation coverage of up to €5,000. Revolut offers none of the above.
We highly recommend N26 as the best online bank for most people. Click here to learn more about the differences between N26 and Revolut.
N26 Alternative #2: TransferWise
Compared on: Currency exchange
If the primary way you plan to use your N26 account is for exchanging currency and sending payments in multiple currencies, it makes the most sense to compare N26 to TransferWise. I wrote an in-depth review of TransferWise here.
TransferWise is the best way to send money internationally. In fact, N26 leverages TransferWise’s technology for some of their cross-border payments. It’s the cheapest, most transparent method for exchanging and transferring currencies anywhere in the world.
Difference 1: Multiple Currencies
The major difference between how N26 and TransferWise handles foreign currencies is that an N26 account is only capable of holding one currency: Euros. Every transaction you make is done at the inter-bank rate, though, which means that from a quantitative perspective, it’s as if you had paid in the local currency.
TransferWise, on the other hand, allows you to hold multiple currencies in a TransferWise Borderless account. You can currently hold more than 40 currencies, all the major currencies you’d expect plus several dozen more. This doesn’t have any bottom-line impact, but it is a slightly different way of approaching foreign currencies.
Difference 2: ATM Withdrawals
Your N26 account grants you free ATM withdrawals anywhere in the world. Similarly, a TransferWise Borderless account allows you to withdraw up to £200 per month for free.
Since N26 and TransferWise work in slightly different ways, I recommend using them together to get the best of both worlds. That means you have an N26 account for free ATM withdrawals worldwide, and whenever you need to send money across borders, you use TransferWise to do it.
N26 Alternative #3: SafetyWing
Compared on: Travel insurance
A lot of people sign up for N26 because of the exceptional travel insurance coverage that comes with N26 Black and N26 Metal. Alongside unlimited foreign medical coverage and trip cancellation insurance, N26 also covers flight delay and baggage delay, car rentals, and even offers an extended warranty on your purchases. You can read all the details of the N26 insurance policy in my full N26 review.
If travel and medical insurance what you’re interested in, then an excellent alternative to N26 is SafetyWing.
What Is SafetyWing?
SafetyWing is a $37 monthly travel & medical insurance plan with impressive emergency medical and dental coverage, $3,000 of lost luggage coverage and a $250,000 maximum limit.
It likely offers the best value of any travel and medical insurance plan on the planet.
SafetyWing is frequently compared with World Nomads, the popular travel and medical insurance provider for backpackers, freelancers and digital nomads. When you dig into the numbers, though, as we did in our breakdown review of SafetyWing and World Nomads, you come to see why SafetyWing is so, so much better.
There are a few key differences between the N26 and SafetyWing travel insurance policies:
- SafetyWing’s emergency medical coverage is capped at $250,000; N26’s is unlimited.
- SafetyWing offers $10,000 in personal liability coverage; N26 offers none.
- SafetyWing covers you for up to 30 days out of every 90 days in your home country (15 days out of 90 days if you’re American); N26 only covers you when you’re abroad.
Overall, though, the two complement each other extremely well, each filling the gaps in the other’s policy. That’s why I recommend using both SafetyWing and N26 together, a combination that gives you an exceptional level of coverage for a total of just $48/month ($37/month for SafetyWing, €9.90/month ($11/month) for N26 Black).
Here’s what your coverage looks like when you combine N26 and SafetyWing together:
|SafetyWing + N26|
|Monthly Cost||$37 + $11 = $48 per month|
|Trip Cancellation||€5,000 ($5,700) (10-20% deductible)|
|Lost Baggage||$3,000 (maximum $500 per item)|
|Personal Liability Coverage||$10,000|
|Home Country Coverage||30 days out of every 90 days (15 days out of every 90 days for Americans)|
|Coverage Area||Worldwide (excludes North Korea and Iran for some benefits)|
Are you starting to see why I’m so excited about this combination?
N26 Black + SafetyWing offers the ultimate low-cost insurance combination for digital nomads and frequent travelers. For just $48/month, you receive world-class coverage that has your back in every plausible scenario.
These are the three most compelling alternatives for N26 out there:
- Revolut: An online bank that offers some, but certainly not all, of N26’s features and functionality. We recommend N26 as the best online bank for most people.
- TransferWise: An exceptional tool for moving money across borders. We recommend using both TransferWise and N26 together for maximum effect.
- SafetyWing: A truly impressive travel and medical insurance provider that offers a better plan than World Nomads at ⅓ the price. We recommend using both SafetyWing and N26 Black together for an extremely comprehensive insurance plan that costs just $48/month.
Also, since so many of you have been asking us for them, here's our full list of country-specific posts outlining how to ship anything from Amazon to any country in the world. Our 2-step method makes it as simple as humanly possible, and takes about 3 minutes total: Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, China, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Asia as a whole, Europe as a whole and the United Arab Emirates.
While you're at it, international travelers should read our N26 review for the best way to get free ATM withdrawals the best rates on currency conversion - anywhere in the world.